Conant leads balanced attack for first LEC win
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Junior Cassidy Emerson (Concord, N.H.) came up with a huge blocked shot in the final second to help the Plymouth State University women's basketball team hold off Rhode Island College, 51-48, in a Little East Conference (LEC) game at The Murray Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers entered the final quarter trailing 40-37, but used a 10-0 run over the first 4:29 of the frame to pull in front. Emerson's jumper got the streak started and a pair of free throws from sophomore Brittany Roche (Londonderry, N.H.) put the visitors in front. Following a Rhode Island turnover, Roche sank a jumper and Emerson's offensive rebound and put back gave PSU a 45-40 lead. Emerson had a chance at a three-point play, but missed the free throw, though freshman Elizabeth McLaughlin (Melvin Village, N.H.) came up with the rebound and her layup capped the run.
Junior Jess Conant (Canton, Maine) hit one-of-two from the charity stripe to give the Panthers a 50-43 lead with 2:31 to play but sophomore Jordyn Gauvin (Fall River, Mass.) sank a triple at the other end. Morrill split a pair from the free throw line, but senior Jessa Rubera (Newton, Mass.) made both attempts at the line to pull the hosts to within three, 51-48, with 1:41 to go.
The Panthers had a chance to ice the game at the line, but missed twice giving RIC an opportunity to tie with 1:15 to play. Strong defense by the Panthers led to a missed shot and Emerson corralled the loose ball. PSU burned clock on the offensive end but were unable to score, setting up one last chance for the Anchorwomen with 27 seconds to play.
After a timeout, PSU pressured the outside shooters and RIC called a final timeout with just 12 seconds to go, looking to set up a game-tying shot. The Panther defense again closed to the outside shooters well and Emerson got a piece of a three-point attempt just before the buzzer to preserve the win.
Conant led all scorers with 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting and added nine rebounds. Emerson finished with eight points, nine boards, two assists and two blocks, with junior Debra Morrill (Concord, N.H.), Roche and McLaughlin all chipping in with seven points. Morrill added seven rebounds, five assists and two steals in another all-around performance.
Junior Margaret McCaffrey paced the Anchorwomen with 13 points and 10 boards, and Gauvin added 12 points, nine rebounds and six assists, but the Panther defense limited Rhode Island to just 18-of-71 shooting (25.4%), including 2-of-18 (11.1%) in the final ten minutes.
With the win the Panthers stop a three-game skid and improve to 5-9 overall and 1-4 in LEC play. RIC drops to 7-7 (1-4 LEC).
The Panthers are right back in action on Monday when they make the short trip to New London for a 5:30 p.m. non-conference tilt with Colby-Sawyer College.
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